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Abstract

Acute hepatitis C continues to be a concern in men who have sex with men (MSM), and its optimal management has yet to be established. In this study, the clinical, biological, and therapeutic data of 53 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected MSM included in a multicenter prospective study on acute hepatitis C in 2006-2007 were retrospectively collected and analyzed. The mean hepatitis C virus (HCV) viral load at diagnosis was 5.8 ± 1.1 log10 IU/mL (genotype 4, n = 28; genotype 1, n = 14, genotype 3, n = 7). The cumulative rates of spontaneous HCV clearance were 11.0% and 16.5% 3 and 6 months after diagnosis, respectively. Forty patients were treated, 38 of whom received pegylated interferon and ribavirin. The mean duration of HCV therapy was 39 ± 17 weeks (24 ± 4 weeks in 14 cases). On treatment, 18/36 (50.0%; 95% confidence interval 34.3-65.7) patients had undetectable HCV RNA at week 4 (RVR), and 32/39 (82.1%; 95 confidence interval 70.0-94.1) achieved sustained virological response (SVR). SVR did not correlate with pretreatment parameters, including HCV genotype, but correlated with RVR (predictive positive value of 94.4%) and with effective duration of HCV therapy (64.3% for 24 ± 4 weeks versus 92.0% for longer treatment; P = 0.03). Conclusion: The low rate of spontaneous clearance and the high SVR rates argue for early HCV therapy following diagnosis of acute hepatitis C in HIV-infected MSM. Pegylated interferon and ribavirin seem to be the best option. The duration of treatment should be modulated according to RVR, with a 24-week course for patients presenting RVR and a 48-week course for those who do not, irrespectively of HCV genotype. (HEPATOLOGY 2010)